Search engine optimization can be seen as a pain. The search engines are always changing their algorithms, making it harder to figure out what you can do to get that desired ‘above the fold’ first page listing. It’s hard though, you just need to stick with it. SEO isn’t something that you hire a company to do for you when you build your website and social media, and then forget about. It’s an ongoing process that we here at Orcapack help our customers to continue to improve.
And we do it using “white hat” SEO. What’s “white hat” versus “black hat” SEO? Well think of it this way. White hat is how to do things right, black hat is how to do things if you’re trying to trick the search engines. And if you get caught doing that you could be banned from even being listed by Google at all. No search result for your organization ever. Do you want to risk that using techniques that the search engines are always trying to change their algorithms to avoid, or do you want to use good techniques, that might need a bit more elbow grease, but pay of solidly in the end?
People like lists though, so here are 5 things to do, and 5 things not to do.
DO NOT use hidden content. Hidden content basically is content that the user of a website can’t see, but it’s there in the code for the search engine computers to see. There are different coding tags and ways of putting up content that isn’t actually visible. This way black hat seo purveyors can stuff even more content on the site without ‘ruining’ the look of the site. However if search engines find this stuff, your site is likely to get a ban.
DO create quality content. “Content is King”. There is literally nothing you can do better for your search engine optimization than create regular quality content. A site with no content scores far lower than a site with great and plentiful content. A site with great and plentiful content that is constantly being upgraded with new and additional content scores even higher. Search engines love content, and lots of black hat seo is about tricking search engines into thinking you have good content. Why not just make good content instead of trying to be tricky? Put your energy into something that works.
DO NOT participate in link farming. Link farms are essentially open pages that have tons of links on them. Because the search algorithms put weight on the links back to your website from other websites, Black hat SEO puts as many links to your website out there as possible, but if you participate in link farms you’re also likely to get a ban on your website if you get caught.
DO cultivate quality links. Search engines favor quality over quantity. If you’re spending time putting your links everywhere you’re probably wasting your time. It’s better off to have 1 good solid link, than 100 meaningless ones. Make sure your organization gets linked from where ever it’s mentioned on the web, a review on a newspaper site, your Yelp page, etc. Make the links to your site meaningful in real places, and that will help you more than any link farming or trading.
3. Meta Tags
DO NOT stuff your meta tags. There are places, that the normal user can’t see, in the code of your page, and one of them are the meta tags. They basically call things out to the computers looking at the pages for the most part. One of them is the description tag, and it’s used to describe your site, so that a search engine can use that description for display on it’s site. However people often stuff these descriptions with keywords. That’s bad, and again the search engines don’t like it, and it doesn’t help you.
DO provide accurate meta tag information. Even though the meta tags have been so abused in the past by black hat seo most search engines hardly look at them anymore, they’re still useful if you use them right. Make the keywords a short list of words that really describe your front page content. Have your description be an accurate 1 or 2 sentence short description of your organization.
DO NOT use Doorway or Gateway pages. These are pages put up on the internet for computers, not people. They are stuffed with content and keywords, sometimes without any real design, that all link to your website. Usually these sites have an immediate redirection script on them so that if you as a user land there you get quickly shunted to the real site. They’re like the worst of all black hat SEO techniques rolled into one. SEO firms sometimes even recommend doing this, and if one does to you, run quickly and don’t use them. The search engines hate these sites, and if they are getting better at finding them, blocking them, and even banning the sites responsible.
DO use targeted mini-sites. What’s the difference? Well a targeted mini-site is another website apart from your organization’s main website, that offers something to your customers. Like say you wanted to offer regular coupons for your organization. you could create a mini site “ourtoga-coupons.com” that lists out all your coupons and offers, searchable, etc. Or maybe you have a Organization’s Blog that you want to have, but want to keep separate from the main organization website. You can have a different website for the organizations’s blog, and then have that blog link back to the website. In targeted mini-sites you’re offering actual content for the customers, whether it’s information, or an application, or a form for additional information, lots of stuff. Then they link back. You get the benefits of a Doorway/Gateway site, with none of the black hat swarthyness.
DO NOT use something like Flash which shows no structural/semantic markup. Flash content is always a struggle for the search engines to figure out what is what. The code that generates the flash is not always clear for search engines as to what content on the page is most important, particularly as the flash gets more complicated. They used to not read them at all, and have gotten better at actually divining WHAT content is in the Flash, but they still can’t really tell what is important on the page, more so than anything else.
DO use semantic mark up. Semantic mark up means using the actual structural elements of HTML in order to help search engines know what is important on your site. Starting with the title tag of your site, and then using header tags, bolds, and paragraph tags to structure your content in a way that a computer can easily discern the breakdown of what is important and how it relates to other things on the page. The more you help the search engines, the more they’ll help you.
Bonus Tip: Keywords
When you’re writing content for your website, figure out what keywords and key phrases you think people might search for while looking for your site. Company Websites for instance is a good one for us. Company Website Design or something similar. Think about them as phrases and not as single words. “Japanese Steakhouse” rather than just “Japanese” for instance. The more words you use, the more targeted your results will be.
Assign 2-3 keyword/phrases to each page you create on your website, and be sure to try and use those keywords on the page throughout the important elements like the title, the description and keywords, the heading text, the content, in links, and in the alt tags and titles of images.
If you do all that (and don’t do all that) you’ll find over time your search results only going up, and if you keep it up, before you know it you’ll be above the fold.
If you have any questions, or need help in using good tried and true white hat SEO techniques for your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us about a fixing up your organizations website today.